The Association Between Persistence and Adherence to Disease-Modifying Therapies and Healthcare Resource Utilization and Costs in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

J Health Econ Outcomes Res. 2022 Apr 26;9(1):111-116. doi: 10.36469/jheor.2022.33288. eCollection 2022.


Background: Persistence and adherence to disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) affects treatment efficacy and economic outcomes, both of which contribute to overall patient disease burden. Current literature suggests that patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who adhere to DMT for 12 months have fewer relapses and reduced MS-related healthcare resource utilization (HCRU) and medical costs than nonadherent patients. Objective: To expand on previous research by estimating the association of persistence and adherence with all-cause and MS-related HCRU and non-DMT costs of patients with MS across 12 and 24 months of therapy use. Methods: This study was a retrospective analysis of adult patients with MS in the IBM MarketScan Commercial and Medicare Supplemental databases using claims data between April 2016 and December 2019. The index date was defined as the initiation of the DMT. Patients were required to have ≥12 months' continuous enrollment pre-index and ≥12 or ≥24 months' continuous enrollment post-index. Persistence was defined as no gap in DMT supply for ≥60 days within the post-index period or switch to another DMT. Adherence was calculated using the proportion of days covered (for this study, number of days covered by the DMT was 365 or 730 days), with ≥80% proportion of days covered considered adherent. Multivariable analyses were conducted to estimate total and individual components of non-DMT costs by persistence and adherence while controlling for baseline differences. Results: Patients who were persistent with medication for 12 months showed a reduction in mean total non-DMT medical costs of $10 022 compared with nonpersistent patients; these savings nearly doubled ($19 230) after 24 months of persistence. A similar pattern was observed for adherent vs nonadherent patients (reduction in costs at 12 months, $8543; at 24 months, $16 091). The largest reduction in all-cause HCRU costs was observed in the inpatient setting, while the largest reduction in MS-related costs was observed in the outpatient setting. Discussion: Patients with MS who were persistent and adherent to medication had substantially lower all-cause and MS-related non-DMT medical costs compared with those who were nonpersistent or nonadherent. Conclusions: These findings further support the importance of persistence and adherence to DMTs in patients with MS.

Keywords: adherence; disease-modifying therapies; healthcare resource utilization; multiple sclerosis; persistence.